A couple of weeks ago we were shopping for school shoes and I had a teachable moment with my two sons. I still get chills thinking about it – and how it relates to the world we live in. I will get into that later.
As we picked out school shoes, I headed to the register and my oldest decided to “pick up” a piece of candy. NEWSFLASH: you are not allowed to casually pick up anything in any store. And the same for your sister. Period.
Pause. Breath. Pause. Breath.
Because mothers have super powers, I knew something was up when I looked into those innocent eyes — he knew nothing about what this really meant for him: a black boy.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “What do you have?”
Son: “Uhhh. . . nothing.”
Me: Immediate side eye
Me: “WHAT DO YOU HAVE!” Blood rushing and boiling
Son: Pulls small piece of candy out of pocket
Me: Head nearly explodes, body tenses up . . . and the candy goes back on the shelf
Outside of the store in my lowest but most stern voice I gave him straight talk: don’t you ever do this in your life . . . EVER!
From the look on his face, I knew he understood the seriousness of my words and eyes. Same for his brother. I was overwhelmed with emotion and had to pull myself back together.
As we rode home in silence, my thoughts gathered:
- We’ll have “the talk” when they can truly understand
- But why do my husband and I even have to have this talk with our boys?
- As a black boy certain situations are not worth it — so don’t put yourself in them
My hope is that these teachable moments with my kids will ignite them to seek change. We all must continue to advocate at city, state, and federal levels – it is undeniably important.
But what stands: I will continue to raise my boys to know that they are strong, they are smart, they are healthy, they are happy, they are blessed, and they are brave.
This will be a part of their black boy chronicles.
Because the sun always comes out after the rain. . .